Nightclubs, dancing, and reforms to Japan’s sex-industry laws (fueihō): lessons in shifting global politico-economic trends from the ‘no dancing’ country

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In December 2010, nightclubs in Osaka were raided by Japan’s police. Such raids quickly spread to Tokyo, and sparked a nationwide crackdown on nightclubs that drew global media attention to the fact that–unbeknownst to many Japanese–it was illegal during Japan’s post-Second World War period to dance due to the arcane sex-business related legislation of fueihō. This was remedied in June 2016 through reforms to fueihō brought about by a vociferous civil society campaign. This article evaluates both the crackdown and the ensuing reforms, to reveal the global politico-economic structures underlying them. Through this conceptual lens, rather than the prevailing media driven tendency to paint Japan as ‘weird’ and as the ‘no dancing’ country, Japan’s 2010 crackdown and the 2016 reforms can actually be viewed as conforming to various global level power shifts; shifts that also help to evaluate how significant the latest reforms have been. The real issue therefore, and which this article attempts to explore, is the use of the Japanese case as the entry point into rather more worrying global power shifts that seek to control night-spaces, regulate civil society, and modulate the human body through, for instance, dancing. Nightclubs are a sociological ‘canary in the coalmine’ portent of wider trends, as is Japan’s relationship with them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-155
Number of pages30
JournalJapan Forum
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 2

Keywords

  • Japan
  • clubbing
  • dancing
  • fueihō
  • nightclubs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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